Answering God: “The Lord Speaks to Us”

Passage: Psalm 1
Guide for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection

Sermon Summary

Sometimes our circumstances lead us into deeper reflection on the kind of life that’s truly worth living. Many of the Psalms were compiled during such a time, while Israel was in a “forced time out” in exile in Babylon. As a whole, the Psalms help us to fix our eyes on “the life worth living” and give us a way of “answering God,” by responding to all that he has done for us. Psalm 1, however, begins the Psalter not by answering God, but by first reminding us of what the good (or “blessed”) life is. Psalm 1 pictures a thriving tree, transplanted by streams of water, with its basic message to an exiled people being: become like this tree.

The Psalmist gives us both a practice to embrace (meditation) if we want to become like that thriving tree, and a picture of what results from embracing or failing to embrace that practice. Those who meditate on the law of the Lord, sinking their roots down deep into God’s redemptive story, will have stability and flourishing, prospering in all seasons, and living a meaningful life. Those who do not meditate on God’s law will live unstable and inconsequential lives, like chaff—“rootless, weightless, useless”—and will be eternally forgotten by the Lord. Ultimately, none of us can stand on the merits of our own meditation, which is why the content of our meditation itself must include the Messiah whom God has provided for us in our sin and need—a link which Psalm 2 richly provides: “Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (2:12).

Sermon Outline

  • A Practice: Meditate on the Word of God (vs. 1-2)
  • A Picture: Tree or Chaff? (vs. 3-6)

Group Discussion & Personal Reflection Guide

Re-read the passage (Psalm 1)

A Practice: Meditate on the Word of God (vs. 1-2)

Q) The Psalm begins with a negative example in verse 1, describing what the “blessed” person should not do, in order to experience flourishing. What progression do you see in the words “walking”, “standing”, and “sitting”? How do these actions hinder us from experiencing the “blessed” life, as God defines it?

Q) In what practical ways have you either “walked in the counsel of the wicked” or “stood in the way of sinners” or “sat in the seat of scoffers”? Can you give an example? How are you tempted to do this?

Q) In verse 2, the blessed person is the one who delights in and meditates on the “law of the Lord.” What does it mean to “meditate” on God’s word? How is this different from simply reading it?

Q) Why is meditating on God’s word essential to living a life that is “blessed”? What are some of the most common barriers you’ve found in your life that keep you from meditating on God’s word? What do you find yourself meditating on most regularly?

Q) How and when do you want to meditate on God’s word in this next week? Is there a specific way you feel called to obedience in this area?

A Picture: Tree or Chaff? (vs. 3-6)

Q) Re-read the picture of what the righteous person is like, in verse 3. What are some of this tree’s characteristics? Is one of them particularly appealing to you?

Q) Do you know a Christian whose life is like the one described in verse 3? What is their life like? Q) Re-read the description of the wicked in verses 4-6. What stands out to you? What do youthink the image of chaff is meant to convey?

Q) Pastor Bobby said that, “To the degree that we meditate on the wrong tree, we become like chaff—that is, we have no ‘weight to our life’”? What does he mean when he says that our lives have no “weight”? Why is meditating on God’s law essential to our lives having “weight”?

Q)Have you ever experienced a season when your life seemed to have no “weight” to it? What was that like?

Q) Pastor Bobby said that most of our lives are some mixture of “tree” and “chaff.” Which does your life feel more like right now? How about over these past 12 months? Why?

Q) Read Psalm 2:7-12. Pastor Bobby reminded us that in the end, none of us will ultimately “stand” on our own merits—no matter how well we meditate! We will only “stand” by “taking refuge” in God’s son, which Psalm 2:12 tells us to do. Why is it essential for our meditation on God’s word to include meditation on Jesus? What side effects will result from meditating on God’s word without meditating on Jesus’ person and work?

Additional Application Questions

Q) How else would you like to engage with God this week?

Q) How can you tangibly care for those in your community this week, both inside and outside of the church?

Prayer

Spend time praying for yourselves, our church community, the North Shore community, and our nation and world—particularly those most vulnerable.

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